Malaysia finishes third in Group B with win against Laos
Malaysia finished third in the Group B table after sealing a 3-1 win over Laos.
Laos showed that they settled into the game earlier than their opponents by creating threatening opportunities in the first 20 minutes. Soukchinda Natphasouk converted the chance for Laos when he powered in a header from a corner in the 22nd minute.
Trailing by a goal, Malaysia began to pick up their game as more chances are created. Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad broke the offside trap and equalises in the 41st minute after he calmly chested a long ball and slotted it into Laos goalkeeper Soukthavy Soundala’s far end.
Saiful Ridzuwan Selmat (number 8) took the lead for Malaysia in the second half. Photo: Loh Then Min/SINGSOC
Malaysia maintained their tempo and went into the second half with threatening attacks from the wings. Their lead came in the 71st minute as Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat out jumped Laos defender Sinnalone Sihalath in the box to put a header in from a set piece at the flank.
Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim sealed Malaysia’s victory ten minutes later with a toe poke that went between the legs of Soundala.
This match was the third match loss for team Laos in the 28th SEA Games, without their two regular players who were missing from their lineup against Malaysia.
“They missed the bus,” explained Coach David Booth.
Booth acknowledged that his team’s weakness in defense resulted in their defeat.
Although Malaysia did not qualify for the semi-finals, fans still remained positive. “I will never forget those moments when Malaysia scores a goal” Tensten, a Malaysia supporter mentioned.
Malaysia will be hosting the next SEA Games and their Coach Ong Kim Swee hopes his team will have more time to prepare for the tournament in two years’ time. “We have to start working now, not a few months before the tournament,” said Ong.
Catch the semi-finals with Myanmar pitting against Vietnam and Thailand against Indonesia at the National Stadium on Saturday, June 13.
Evan stunner sends hosts crashing out
On an evening of high stakes football, their fans brought the roar but the Young Lions of Singapore could manage only a whimper.
And the 28th SEA Games hosts were made to pay the price, as they were dumped out of the football competition on Thursday evening after a 0-1 defeat by Indonesia that saw the Garuda Muda advance to the semi-finals at their expense.
“I’m very proud of my boys,” said a tearful Singapore coach Aide Iskandar, who stepped down as coach of the team following the loss. “They did their best to push for a goal, for an equaliser.”
With so much at stake, the first half was a cagey affair with goal-scoring chances at a premium, although Indonesia’s Ahmad Nufiandani did test Syazwan Buhari with an effort that the Singapore custodian was alert to.
Needing a goal to swing things in his side’s favour, Young Lions coach Aide sent on two attackers – striker Irfan Fandi and winger Faris Ramli – at the break.
But his best-laid plans were torn up just two minutes into the second half by Evan Dimas, who beat Syazwan with a stunning effort from the edge of the box.
Football - First Round - Indonesia v Singapore - Indonesia's Evan Dimas Darmono (6) celebrates scoring his side's first goal. Photo: SINGSOC
Singapore’s misery was compounded in the 65th minute when left-back Ho Wai Loon, standing in for the suspended Shakir Hamzah, was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Singapore striker Sahil Suhaimi reacts in despair as the hosts are dumped out at the group stage by Indonesia. Photo: Alfie Damian Lee/SINGSOC
Even with a largely partisan crowd firmly behind them, the 10 men of Singapore were unable to muster a response, ultimately exiting the competition in meek fashion.
In contrast, it is full steam ahead for Indonesia, who have the chance to avenge their loss to Thailand in the 2013 final when the two sides meet in Saturday’s semi-final.
“Thailand are one of the best teams in the region,” Indonesia coach Aji Santoso said. “But in football, anything can happen.”
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.